So, you’re ready to turn that dream into a reality – owning your very own boat! Maybe it’s your first ever boat or maybe you’re looking for an upgrade; whatever the circumstances, we bet you have a bunch of questions to ask before picking the right boat for you. Before you start searching for the best boat loan rates, we’ve created this guide which will take you through the process from start to finish to ensure you walk away with the boat that will meet your needs.

Where to start

Before you get too carried away, it’s a good idea to identify what you’re hoping to use the boat for1. This is a very crucial first step as different boats are better suited to different purposes – avid fishers will be looking for different features to someone who wants to use their boat for water sports. Make sure you also take your capabilities into consideration2. If you’re new to the boating world, you may feel more confident driving a smaller vessel to start off with. After all, you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. 

Another factor you may like to consider before committing to one specific boat is where you’ll plan on storing it1. If you don’t have space at your house, you may like to research other options, such as a storage locker or local marina.

Start researching

Once you’ve decided on what you’ll be using your boat for, it’s a lot easier to start researching the different models on offer.

To get you started, it’s worth thinking about the different features you would like in a boat1. For example, you may want more seating or storage space. A good way to tackle this is by creating a list of all the features your ideal boat would have and using this as a tool to guide your research.

Deciding if you’re looking to buy a brand new boat or a used one is also an important point to consider, as this may dictate how you conduct your research1. If you plan to buy a new vessel, you may be more inclined to visit boating stores and consult magazines that list new and upcoming models. Looking for a preloved boat? You may like to consider browsing Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree. Whichever option you choose, use as many resources as possible to gather the information you need to make your decisions – you may even have a circle of friends or family members you can draw on for advice.

At the research stage, it’s also worth starting to think about your finances and whether you’ll require a loan to purchase your boat. Conducting a simple Google search for the best used or new boat loan rates is sure to set you on the right track.

Don’t forget about these factors…

Regardless of whether you plan on buying a new or used boat, you should always make sure you consider the safety features of the vessel before purchasing it2. This is especially important if you’re privately buying a second-hand boat – in this instance, you may even like to consult a mechanic’s advice before committing to the purchase2. A good way to ensure you’re making a safe purchase is to ask the seller a range of questions – focus on investigating whether any of the parts have been replaced and if so, whether genuine replacement parts were used, as well as the condition and age of the engine2. Asking as many questions as you can think of can help assure you that you’re making a smart purchase. Thanks to your earlier research on used boat loans, you’ll also have an idea of how much you can spend on a boat.  

If you’re buying a new boat, there should be an Australian Builder’s Plate attached to the vessel which details how many people it can hold, load allowed, engine rating, engine weight and which conditions it works best in2. Keep this information in mind as it could help you make the final call on which boat you’ll buy. As you should have a clearer idea of new boat loans on offer and how this will affect your budget, you should also factor this into your decision.

On the topic of safety, there are also a few items to consider which will add to your overall budget. Life jackets, fire extinguishers, flares and the like are all good items to have on board, especially if you’re planning to travel far from shore for your boating adventures3.

Get your finances sorted

Don’t forget about the financial side of things! It’s important to get this sorted before you purchase your boat, that way you’re certain of your budget. Unless you plan to buy your vessel outright, you’ll likely need to look at taking out a loan. Lucky for you, Queensland Country Bank offers boat loans for new and used (up to five years) boats, with the option for pre-approval to make the buying process smoother for you.

When it comes to your finances, it’s also important to remember that a boat is just like a car – you must register it before you can head out on the water. Plus, insurance is a good idea to protect your vessel against possible accidents and damage, which Queensland Country Bank also offers through CGU. If you’re new to the boating club, you should factor in costs of purchasing a trailer to transport your boat to and from the water as well1. Keep all of these additional expenses in mind when you’re planning out your budget to ensure you don’t fall short.

Don’t forget that as time goes on, maintenance will be required to keep your boat up to scratch, especially its engine. Plus, fuel costs are constantly fluctuating, so make sure you can financially afford the upkeep before committing to this big purchase1.  

What next?

You’re nearly set to go! One last thing you should account for is your knowledge of rules on the water. Yes, just like how there are road rules, there are also laws around where you can and can’t drive your boat. These rules vary from state to state, so it’s best to look at a state government website before setting out3. Plus, did you know that, in Queensland, you need a boat licence if you plan to drive a vessel that has an engine power greater than 4.5 kilowatts4? Again, there isn’t a blanket rule for the whole of Australia, so you’ll need to check on this depending on where you live and factor the cost of a boat licence into your budget if you require one.

There you go, you’re set – time to let your dreams float and unwind on the water with your very own boat. That weekend feeling awaits!


Terms and conditions of Queensland Country Bank’s Boat Loans apply. View the relevant TMD’s available at Normal lending criteria, terms, conditions and fees apply and are available on request.

Queensland Country Bank Limited ABN 77 087 651 027 AFS Licence No. 244533 acts under its own Australian Financial Services Licence and under an agreement with the insurer, Insurance Australia Limited ABN 11 000 016 722 AFS Licence no. 227681 trading as CGU Insurance. CGU Boat Insurance is issued by CGU. You can get a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for this product from any office of Queensland Country Bank. You should consider the PDS in deciding whether to buy or hold the relevant product.

General Advice Warning: This information is intended to be general in nature and is not personal financial advice. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information in this article, you should consider the appropriateness of the information provided. In particular, you should seek independent financial advice.


1Fishing World, 2021, Tips for buying your first fishing boat,

2Maritime Safety Victoria, 2021, Buying a boat,

3Jessica Taylor Yates, 2022, Beginners guide to owning a boat in Victoria: Types of boats, costs, safety, and laws, RACV

4Queensland Government, 2020, Boat and personal watercraft licences,,and%20a%20personal%20watercraft%20licence.